Open Access EMDR and the Adaptive Information Processing Model

Potential Mechanisms of Change

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Abstract:

Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapeutic approach guided by the adaptive information processing (AIP) model. This article provides a brief overview of some of the major precepts of AIP. The basis of clinical pathology is hypothesized to be dysfunctionally stored memories, with therapeutic change resulting from the processing of these memories within larger adaptive networks. Unlike extinction-based exposure therapies, memories targeted in EMDR are posited to transmute during processing and are then again stored by a process of reconsolidation. Therefore, a comparison and contrast to extinction-based information processing models and treatment is provided, including implications for clinical practice. Throughout the article a variety of mechanisms of action are discussed, including those inferred by tenets of the AIP model, and the EMDR procedures themselves, including the bilateral stimulation. Research suggestions are offered in order to investigate various hypotheses.

Keywords: ADAPTIVE INFORMATION PROCESSING MODEL; EMDR; INFORMATION PROCESSING; MECHANISMS OF CHANGE; PSYCHOTHERAPY

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1891/1933-3196.2.4.315

Publication date: November 1, 2008

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  • The Journal of EMDR Practice and Research is a quarterly, peer-reviewed publication devoted to integrative, state-of-the-art papers about Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing. It is a broadly conceived interdisciplinary journal that stimulates and communicates research and theory about EMDR, and their application to clinical practice.
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